MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- After 80 days in three hospitals fighting COVID-19, Houston police Sgt. Arturo "Hito" Bazan walked out to cheers Thursday afternoon.
"It was something that we thought may not happen," Arturo's wife and nurse, Sheryle Bazan, said as her husband stood with their three children. "So, we're extremely ecstatic. You can't see, but I'm smiling."
The 25-year HPD veteran had been hospitalized since June, and spent 55 days on a ventilator.
"All of our prayers were answered," said Arturo's mother Olga.
After losing 56 pounds, Arturo had to learn how to walk and talk again at Cornerstone Specialty Hospital in Conroe.
Darin Trees, the director of rehabilitation, documented some of Arturo's progress. He said when Arturo arrived to the hospital in August, he was barely able to sit up. But by Thursday, he was climbing the stairs.
"It's amazing to see the progress he has made," Trees said. "It's just tremendously rewarding to be able to see that he worked so hard. He's just a great person. It's awesome to see these outcomes."
Nurses, doctors and other medical professionals watched Arturo leave Cornerstone, although he spent the bulk of his hospitalization at Memorial Hermann in The Woodlands.
"We celebrate the positive. He was a fighter. He was bound and determined to beat this," said medical ICU nurse Michelle Walls.
Arturo was given a police escort home to Montgomery County where signs and a large crowd welcomed him.
Sheryle said she is not sure whether her husband will work as a police officer again. He has more rehab ahead of him.
"He's ready to tell everyone that he got a second chance, and he's not going to waste it," she said.
The family expressed their gratitude for the support and prayers from their community and his fellow police officers, as well as the tireless work of the medical professionals who cared for Arturo.
"Thank you very much," Arturo said.